Stable Talk with trainer Sophie Leech
WE started with a bang at our local track with Take of Shoc'S winning a handicap chase at Chepstow on Tuesday.
He made all and showed real guts and determination to hang on in the closing stages.
It was a real credit to the team, especially head lad Andrew Hardacre who rides the horse every day, to get him back on track after he looked like he had fallen out of love with racing at the end of his last campaign.
He is a very tricky horse to deal with at home and incredibly keen, so he does all his work on his own.
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We 'claimed' him out of Rebecca Curtis's yard where he had lost his way and after a few runs for us we decided to give him a break in the hope that he would sweeten up.
When he came back in he was a much happier horse and with a lot of 'TLC' from Andrew he has thrived and got back to winning ways, which is really rewarding. This horse is a typical type we like to try and get hold of and we have had good success with in the past.
Other runners at Chepstow on Tuesday included Seaside Shuffle, who was a little bit disappointing.
He shows plenty of ability at home, but it isn't translating on to the track and his chances will be limited going forward unless he can improve and get into the winners enclosure.
Blowing a Hoolie was back on the track after a year and a half off with a leg injury.
I was really encouraged by her run, she jumped and travelled well before getting tired in the latter stages.
She is sure to come on for the run and proved she retained all her ability and enthusiasm so should be really competitive next time. She is only a small and quite slow filly but has loads of guts so we are really looking forward to her winter campaign. Earlier in the week Owen Glendower ran at Market Rasen in the Prelude Chase.
This was a hot race and one of the most valuable chases of the summer.
He had a lovely prominent position early and was jumping and travelling really well and probably paid the price for his early enthusiasm when he got a little tired in the latter stages, so jockey Richie McLernon was fairly easy on him at the end.
It really helps when jockeys ride for you regularly and know the horses as we wouldn't have wanted him to have a hard race if he is out of contention.
The race was really a learning curve with him and we are now really looking forward to his next run where he should be much more competitive.
Takeroc made his debut for us at Worcester and came fifth but only beaten by six lengths. It was a bit of a muddling race where they went no pace and therefore there were a lot in with chances at the end.
He showed he still had the enthusiasm to race, though, which was pleasing and will come on for the run. Woody Waller travelled up to Perth and ran really well in a two-and-a-half mile chase.
He made a mistake at the last which probably cost him the win but finished a creditable second, which made the journey worthwhile.
He will improve for a more galloping track and softer ground and is sure to be winning in the near future.
Olympian Boy runs today at Fontwell and we are hopeful he can build on his second place from Stratford, although it is a more competitive race. Grey Soldier lines up at Hexham today we are hoping the rain holds off so he can get his preferred fast ground.
He is in good order but has been on the go all summer so may be ready for a holi day.
■ For more information about Sophie Leech's stable, visit www.leechracing.co.uk.